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Did hunted Paris gunman chicken out of suicide?

The Local · 20 Nov 2015, 11:07

Published: 20 Nov 2015 11:07 GMT+01:00

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With the presumed commander of the Paris terror attacks has been confirmed dead, focus has switched to finding Salah Abdeslam, one of the men believed to have been behind the terrace shootings.

French police admitted on Friday they are no closer to tracking down Abdeslam, who witnesses claim to have seen in the Belgium city of Anderlecht on Thursday night.

Salah’s brother Brahim who's also believed to have been behind the terrace shootings, blew himself up at the Comptoir Voltaire on Friday night but the subsequent actions of the missing Salah has lead investigators to believe that he may have decided to flee rather than blow himself up.

Salah Abdeslam reportedly wandered the streets of Paris for several hours on Friday after the attacks as he waited for an acquaintance to drive from Brussels to pick him up.

An alleged friend of his told Belgian website Sud.Info that Abdeslam was in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek as recently as Tuesday night and that he regretted what he did.

“I met him on Tuesday night. He was in Molenbeek but not for long,” the friend said, who added that he was asked by Salah to give a message to his brother.

“He told me he had gone too far. It went beyond what it was meant to be. But he could not turn himself in. This could have consequences for his family,” implying that he feared members of Isis would take revenge.

Speculation persists that Salah Abdeslam either panicked or decided at the last minute not to kill himself. Its also possible that his suicide belt may have malfunctioned, if indeed he was wearing one.

Either way the Europe-wide hunt to find him goes on.

France’s national police Jean-Marc Falcone, speaking on France-Info radio, said police were still working with their Belgian colleagues to find him.

Story continues below…

“We can’t say anything about the exact geographic situation of that individual,” he said.

"We will continue to carry out raids if the investigation uncovers individuals who took part in any way in the preparation for these attacks, or individuals who could eventually carry out these attacks in the coming days or weeks.

"France is currently not safe from other teams committing similar acts to those seen in Paris last Friday," said Falcone.

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